Robert Henry Mainzer

Robert Henry Mainzer

Manhattan, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Death 6 Aug 1936 (aged 61)
Bethlehem, Litchfield County, Connecticut, USA
Burial Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA
Plot Section 149, Plot 16055
Memorial ID 91343128 · View Source
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Robert H. Mainzer was a banker with the firm of Helgarten & Company. Although successful in his own right, he inherited a fortune from his father, making him a very wealthy and generous individual. Much of his generosity was directed to the FDNY.

Throughout his tenure with the Department, Chief Mainzer was active in many respects. He represented the Department on his visits to fire services in Europe including Berlin and Budapest. In 1920, when the American Red Cross established what is now known as its Disaster Service, Mainzer was put in charge as the Department's liaison at incidents where they were called in. When John Hylan was elected Mayor in 1917, there was speculation that Mainzer, who contributed substantially to Hylan's campaign, would be appointed Fire Commissioner. Instead, the incumbent Joseph Johnson remained at the post. A 1933 newspaper article stated that he had donated over $100,000 to the Department.

Perhaps what Deputy Chief Mainzer is best remembered for was his funding of a new concept in the FDNY, a Rescue company. Two major incidents, the Equitable Building fire in 1912 and a fire in the subway in 1915, highlighted the need for a special unit to be created that could handle the many difficult and unusual incidents that occur in the City. The project would require a special vehicle and an array of equipment that would have been considered cutting edge, if not experimental. Chief Mainzer saw to it that this became a reality. The Department thanked him by honoring him with a dinner on January 16, 1916; the one-year anniversary of Rescue Company 1.

He was promoted to Deputy Chief on February 18, 1919 (along with Dr. Harry Archer) for his actions at a fire in a government pier at East 48th Street in which sulfur was stored. Mainzer and Dr. Archer put their own lives at risk to tend to the many firefighters who were overcome by the chemical gas "as deadly as any used in the war."

When he turned fifty in 1925, his friends threw a birthday party that was covered in the New York Times. The article stated that he had attended over 5,000 fires in the City.

At his summer concert series in Central Park in 1927, composer Edwin Franko Goldman dedicated his new march entitled, The Third Alarm, to Chief Mainzer for "his many benefactions in behalf of the firefighters and their families." The march was recorded and published in 1929 and Goldman went on to earn a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.

Mr. Mainzer once objected to the price of a ham he purchased. Instead of paying the $25 bill, he sent the vendor only $14. The vendor sued but Mainzer won the case. The vendor was Arnold Reuben, whose specially seasoned meat became the basis for his famous "Reuben Sandwich."

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  • Created by: Gary Urbanowicz
  • Added: 4 Jun 2012
  • Find a Grave Memorial 91343128
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Robert Henry Mainzer (2 Jul 1875–6 Aug 1936), Find a Grave Memorial no. 91343128, citing Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Gary Urbanowicz (contributor 47731674) .